musings on geek culture in the developing world

We live in a world where popular media in general -- and content by and for geeks, specifically --
takes on a WEIRD perspective. That is: Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, Democratic.
(You can blame/thank cultural geographer Jared Diamond for popularizing that acronym, not me.
I prefer rearranging it to WIRED.)

For geeks in the developing world, the games we play, the comics we read, and the audio-visual
content we obsess about is ostensibly produced for people whose lifestyle, consumer habits,
and daily struggles don’t necessarily reflect the reality of the world we live in. By extension,
the media that reports on it -- the newsfeeds, blog commentaries, even the official publicity --
often assumes these exact same biases.

This is especially bothersome when more of us provide an increasing role in both the creative work
and end-to-end scripting necessary to keep the various geek culture industries going. We may still
lack the purchasing power to form a significant chunk of the consumer base, but we’d like to see
our perspectives represented, just the same.

In our world, “mainstream” is fluid. AAA games, “big two” superhero comics, and fantasy tabletop
RPGs (edition be damned) may be considered a specialized niche market, as much as historical war
gaming, magical girl anime, or iconic BBC sci-fi series.

In our world, living wages, real exchange rates (see: "The Big Mac Index"), draconian import taxes,
and differing rates of knowledge transfer mean that the usual “mom's basement dweller” stereotypes
don’t quite apply to us so readily. Used goods, black market knock-offs, torrents, and the pirate economy
may be as vital to our fandom as retail chains and online stores.

In our world, reliable access to official gaming networks is not a given, and our fan conventions will
unlikely be the site to huge creator announcements. (At least, not yet.)  In our cities, net cafes will be
host to brutal LAN-enabled raids. And the most elaborate cosplay outfits may be patched together
from the scraps of factory over-runs, hand-me-downs, and ‘misdirected’ relief goods.

In our world, geek culture is global, and we wouldn't have it any other way.


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